CenturyLink Talks to Search Consultants

Telco looking at its creative business

CenturyLink, one of the biggest telecommunications companies you may never have heard of, is talking to search consultants about its advertising business, sources said.

Executives from the telco are examining their creative account with a primary focus on digital marketing, according to sources. CenturyLink's media spending totaled $89 million last year, down from about $107 million in 2011, according to Nielsen. Those figures, however, do not include online spending.

After acquiring Qwest two years ago, CenturyLink claims to be the third-largest telecommunications company in the U.S. (behind AT&T and Verizon) in terms of the number of lines served. (Much of Qwest was once US West after the breakup of AT&T.) CenturyLink has 17 million access lines, 5 million broadband customers and 1.4 million video subscribers across 37 states.

Among the agencies who list CenturyLink as a client—on their Web sites—are Peter Mayer Advertising in New Orleans and Vendi Advertising in Lacrosse, Wisc.

A CenturyLink representative declined to confirm the company’s review plans or say whether a consultant had been selected. Execs at Vendi didn’t return calls and those at Peter Mayer could not be reached.

In addition to Qwest, CenturyLink has made other acquisitions in recent years. In 2009, it acquired Embarq, the former local telephone division of Sprint Nextel and the company, known then as CenturyTel, was rebranded as CenturyLink. In 2011, it went on to buy Savvis, a global provider of cloud infrastructure and hosted solutions. 

In March, CenturyLink launched a TV, print and online campaign that focused on the company’s business offerings across network, managed hosting and cloud capabilities.

At the time, Glen F. Post III, CenturyLink’s CEO and president, said, “We believe our new campaign helps reinforce CenturyLink’s competitive position by highlighting our unique ability to provide fully integrated, scalable end-to-end solutions for businesses of all sizes.”

Post added that "though this brand campaign focuses on our business offerings, our strong commitment to our residential customers remains. We are dedicated to being the leading broadband provider in our markets and we continue to roll out new and innovative products such as CenturyLink Prism TV.”